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Match Previews

Championship Betting Preview

6 February 2015

Brighton and Hove Albion v Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest can be backed at 23/10 to start Dougie Freedman’s reign with a victory as they look to give their season a much-needed boost. Forest parted company with Stuart Pearce after last weekend’s 1-0 home defeat to Millwall – their sixth loss out of seven in all competitions - left them 13 points adrift of the play-off places. Fourth-bottom Brighton, who themselves have had a recent change of manager, are just two points above the drop zone, but seem to have improved in recent weeks and are 6/5 favourites to bounce back from their defeat at Blackpool last time out with a win. It’s 23/10 that the match ends in a draw. When these sides last met back in September neither side could find the net and a repeat of that 0-0 scoreline here is priced at 8/1. Forest striker Britt Assombalonga is 11/2 favourite to score first and 6/4 to be on target anytime while Brighton duo Chris O’Grady and Craig Mackail-Smith are both 6/1 and 7/4 in the respective markets.

Top Tip: Draw & Under 2.5 goals at 11/4.

Derby County v Bolton Wanderers

Title-chasing Derby are 8/15 favourites to claim their third Sky Bet Championship victory on the trot when they host a Bolton side hurting from their agonising FA Cup replay defeat to Liverpool in midweek. The Rams are level on points with leaders Bournemouth but considering they are only five points ahead of fifth-placed Brentford in this exciting race for promotion, they’ll be eager to maintain their charge. Bolton, who led last season’s Premier League runners-up before two late goals saw them beaten on Wednesday night, still have work to do if they are to pull comfortably clear of the relegation zone and are 5/1 to bag a surprise win and 3/1 to earn a point. The reverse fixture resulted in a 2-0 win for Derby and a repeat scoreline on Saturday is 6/1. Chris Martin is favourite at 100/30 to score first and 4/5 to net anytime while his Derby team-mate Darren Bent, who has already netted three goals for the club in all competitions since his January arrival, is 4/1 and evens respectively in the same markets. Bolton’s best hopes for goals are reckoned to be Craig Davies, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Adam Le Fondre - all at 9/1 and 3/1.

Top tip: Darren Bent to score a brace at 5/1.

Fulham v Birmingham City

Fulham are 11/10 favourites to bounce back to winning ways when they host Birmingham on Saturday after losing their last two games in all competitions. The Cottagers lost 2-1 at Blackburn last weekend before their midweek FA Cup exit at the hands of Sunderland and they’ll be keen for all three points as they look to pull well clear of the relegation zone. Birmingham, by contrast, still have a chance of reaching the play-offs after a five-match unbeaten run in the Championship and are 23/10 for victory and 5/2 for a third successive draw. The Blues’ last two games ended goalless and the same scoreline at Craven Cottage can be backed at 11/1, while a repeat of the 2-1 win for Fulham earlier in the season is 8/1. Fulham striker Ross McCormack, who has struck four times in their last two Championship games, is 9/2 favourite to score first and 5/4 to net anytime while Birmingham’s Clayton Donaldson is 6/1 and 7/4 respectively in the same markets.

Top tip: Ross McCormack to score anytime at 5/4.

Leeds United v Brentford

Leeds’ four-match unbeaten run earned Neil Redfearn a manager of the month nomination for January and they are 17/10 to maintain their momentum with a third straight victory over high-flying Brentford on Saturday. United won 2-1 at Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield thanks to a last-gasp goal from Billy Sharp last time that lifted them five points above the relegation zone so they’ll head into this clash on a high. Brentford are 6/4 to bounce back with all three points following last weekend’s 1-0 home defeat to promotion rivals Middlesbrough which left them in fifth place and five points behind the top two. The Bees won the corresponding tie against Leeds 2-0 back in September and a repeat scoreline is 11/1. Visiting striker Andre Gray is 5/1 favourite to score first and 11/8 to net anytime while Mirko Antenucci and Souleymane Doukara are both available at 6/1 and 7/4 in the same markets.

Top Tip: The draw at 12/5.

Middlesbrough v Charlton Athletic

Promotion-chasing Middlesbrough are unsurprisingly 4/11 favourites to maintain their charge with a victory over struggling Charlton on Saturday. Aitor Karanka’s side are just one point behind leading duo Bournemouth and Derby after four wins and two draws in their last six, while confidence in the camp was further boosted by their shock 2-0 victory at Manchester City in the FA Cup. Charlton have been sliding towards the relegation zone in recent months having failed to win since a 1-0 triumph at Reading in early November and they are 8/1 to bag all three points at the Riverside and 18/5 to earn their third straight draw. The fixture between these sides in September finished 0-0 at The Valley and a repeat scoreline is 10/1. Patrick Bamford, who has scored twice in Middlesbrough’s last three games in all competitions, including the cup tie at the Etihad Stadium, is 100/30 favourite to score first and 4/5 to net anytime while Charlton’s Igor Vetokele is 10/1 and 7/2 respectively.

Top Tip: Patrick Bamford to score first at 100/30.

Millwall v Huddersfield Town

Struggling Millwall boosted their survival bid with a 1-0 victory at Nottingham Forest last time out and are 13/8 to make it two in a row when they host Huddersfield. The third-bottom Lions are two points adrift of safety while their opponents, who are 8/5 to triumph and 23/10 for the draw, are still in the relegation picture on 34 points. The Terriers were sunk by a stoppage-time winner by Leeds striker Billy Sharp last time out but their return of 10 points from the last six Championship games puts them eighth in the division’s ‘recent form’ table so they must not be underestimated. They won the last meeting between the sides 2-1 and a repeat scoreline for the visitors is 9/1. Huddersfield striker Nahki Wells is 11/2 favourite to score first and 6/4 to net anytime.

Top tip: Both teams to score at 8/11.

Norwich City v Blackpool

Football League sponsors Sky Bet make Norwich 30/100 favourites to beat Blackpool, who are 4/1 to earn a point and 9/1 to secure a first away win of the season. Norwich sit just outside the Championship play-off spots having picked up just one point from their last two games but have been in free-scoring form at Carrow Road - only Watford have scored more home goals in the Sky Bet Championship. It was Watford who put seven past Blackpool last time but Lee Clark's side have won their last two at home to keep their survival hopes alive. They are an attacking threat and it all points to a high-scoring game, with over 3.5 goals a tempting option at 13/8. This is a bet which would've paid out in four of Norwich's last six home games as well as in the reverse fixture earlier this season, which they won 3-1.

Top tip: Over 3.5 goals at 13/8.

Rotherham United v Ipswich Town

Ipswich were 2-0 up inside the first 10 minutes of the reverse fixture but Rotherham should make life much tougher for them here. The Millers won their last home game 4-2 and scored late to secure a point at Charlton last time. Ipswich meanwhile have gone two games without a win as they bid to challenge at the top of the table. Their success has chiefly been built at Portman Road and no side in the top half of the Championship has drawn more away games, so a draw is priced at 11/5. Sky Bet make Ipswich marginal favourites at 7/5, with the home side on offer at 2/1 to secure back-to-back wins in front of their own fans.

Top tip: The draw at 11/5.

Sheffield Wednesday v Cardiff City

Sheffield Wednesday are 11/10 favourites to win for just the fourth time at home in the Sky Bet Championship this season. Cardiff, who can be backed at 13/5, have won just once away from home and the draw therefore looks quite tempting at 9/4. The Owls are the division's lowest-scoring side on home soil with just seven goals in 14 matches but Cardiff haven't been among the more potent sides on the road so, all in all, goals may well be at a premium. Wednesday have drawn 0-0 on seven occasions - that's a quarter of their fixtures - and Sky Bet's 15/2 about another goalless draw could look good value deep into the second half. There might not be much in this one.

Top tip: A 0-0 draw at 15/2.

Watford v Blackburn Rovers

With 12 goals in their last two games at Vicarage Road, Watford are now the highest-scoring side in the division on home soil and behind only Bournemouth overall. They've won just over half of their home games with Ogion Ighalo in a particularly rich vein of form having found the net six times in his last three appearances. Blackburn haven't won away from home in the League since October but have fond memories of playing Watford from earlier in the season, having come from 2-0 down to secure a point at Ewood Park. Like Watford, Rovers have goal threats all over the pitch and a high-scoring game looks likely. In terms of the match markets, Watford are 10/11, the draw is 13/5 and Blackburn are 11/4.
Top tip: Draw and both teams to score at 3/1.

Wigan Athletic v AFC Bournemouth

Wigan have won only twice at home so far this season but, compared to those around them in the Sky Bet Championship table, they are hard to beat and don't concede too many. Defending well will be vital when high-flying Bournemouth come to town. The Cherries are the highest scorers in the division although Leeds managed to keep them at bay the last time Eddie Howe's men played away from home in the League. Wigan are slight underdogs at 13/5, with the draw 12/5 and Bournemouth 21/20. You can have 11/4 combined about 0-0 and 1-1 draws. Perhaps the best bet is 13/8 that the game is 0-0 at half-time, however. That's been the case in four of Wigan's last six in all competitions and also in Bournemouth's most recent away game, which came in the FA Cup.

Top tip: A 0-0 draw at half-time at 13/8.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Reading

Wolves extended their unbeaten run in the Sky Bet Championship to eight games courtesy of a goal-of-the-season contender from Karl Henry at Bolton. They've won half of their home games this season with only the division's top three sides avoiding defeat more frequently. Reading have sometimes struggled for goals, but that wasn't the case in the reverse fixture to thus, an exhilarating 3-3 draw which included three goals in the space of five minutes shortly after half-time, and two more in the closing 10. Wolves are 21/20 favourites with Reading out at 5/2, but the draw is the most enticing option at 12/5. Better still, you can get 12/1 about a draw and over 2.5 goals, which essentially means 2-2, 3-3 or higher. That looks worth a small go given what happened when these sides last met.

Top tip: A draw and over 2.5 goals at 12/1.

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